Order fulfillment may not be the most exciting element of your eCommerce company. When things go wrong, however, it’s probably the thing that keeps you up at night. When your fulfillment operations hit a snag, it can bring your whole business to a halt. That’s why it’s vital to pick the best fulfillment services company for your business. Which 3PL is right for you will depend on the size of your company and your business model. In this post, we compare Red Stag Fulfillment vs. Rakuten Super Logistics.
Both fulfillment companies are among the best 3PL providers in the US. Both provide a range of services and options. But, when you dig into the details of Red Stag Fulfillment vs. Rakuten Super Logistics, there are major differences. Those differences will determine which is right for your business.
5 reasons to assess your third-party logistics company carefully
When you’re looking for a fulfillment company, looking at websites and making a few calls is a good place to start. But it’s important to dig deeper and ask a lot of questions. The right fulfillment partner can help you take your business to new heights. But substandard third-party logistics can eat into your profits and keep your business from growing. Here are five ways that fulfillment can help or hurt your business.
Fulfillment is your closest contact with your customers
Online sellers have to get creative about how to connect with their customers. An inviting website is an important component of this. Social media or email communications in your brand voice also help build loyalty. However, the closest contact you have with each customer is when they receive your products at their doorstep. The experience of shipping, delivery, and packaging makes a strong impression. You can use fulfillment to connect with customers and give them a positive feeling about your brand. Fulfillment services like shipping notifications, careful packing, and marketing materials inside the box build customer loyalty.
Your 3PL can improve your fulfillment operations and save you money
When you outsource your eCommerce fulfillment, you put it in the hands of experts. Professionals whose focus is picking, packing, and shipping can package your orders perfectly. They will pack the correct items in each box. Your fulfillment warehouse has systems to make order processing efficient. This professionalism can save you money in the long run. It can lead to fewer damaged shipments, fewer returns, and less customer service time. In addition, some 3PLs (including Red Stag Fulfillment) may offer discounted shipping rates to their clients.
Good fulfillment builds customer loyalty
How much is a loyal customer worth to your business? Someone who comes back and buys from you over and over is worth a lot to your business over time. A solid base of loyal customers can keep your business afloat, in good times and in bad. When you build consumer loyalty, you save on the cost of marketing to bring in new customers. Constant customer churn can hurt your bottom line. Excellent fulfillment breeds satisfied customers. These customers turn into repeat buyers and even micro-influencers who tell others about your brand.
Slow or sloppy fulfillment can earn you negative reviews
A bad experience with shipping or customer service can sour a customer on your company. Their impression of your products can be colored by slow shipping, sloppy packaging, or incorrect orders. Someone who might have become a fan has now lost faith in your brand. That can lead to negative reviews. The price of substandard fulfillment is probably more than your business can afford.
Fulfillment is the key to the long-term growth of your business
When you outsource your fulfillment, you add a team of logistics experts to your company. A great fulfillment partner can help your business reach its full potential. The wrong fulfillment company can cost you money. You need more than a good fulfillment partner. You need the right fulfillment company for your business.
Red Stag Fulfillment vs. Rakuten Super Logistics: the basics
Rakuten Super Logistics, founded in 2001, is part of the Rakuten eCommerce conglomerate. The Japanese parent company runs Japan’s biggest eCommerce platform. It has operations in more than two dozen countries. Rakuten Super Logistics has more than a dozen warehouse locations around the US.
Red Stag Fulfillment was founded in 2013. The founders were eCommerce entrepreneurs who were frustrated by inadequate fulfillment services. They set out to create a fulfillment company that would match the high standards they set for their eCommerce companies. Red Stag has expanded to two warehouses and is building a third. It has become known in the industry for setting a high bar for accurate fulfillment.
When you look at Red Stag Fulfillment vs. Rakuten Super Logistics, you will find two excellent fulfillment companies. Each provides services to a different segment of eCommerce clients. The details of their services will help you decide which is right for you.
Minimum monthly shipments for Red Stag Fulfillment vs. Rakuten Super Logistics
Some fulfillment companies don’t have monthly order volume minimums. If you’re just starting out, one of these companies might be a good choice for you. Both Red Stag Fulfillment and Rakuten Super Logistics tend to work with more established eCommerce businesses. Red Stag asks for at least 200 orders per month, though there is some flexibility in that number. Rakuten works with companies that ship 1,000 orders a month or more.
Typical parcel weight
Rakuten Super Logistics typically ships orders that weigh between 1 and 10 pounds. This weight range covers the most commonly shipped eCommerce products. Red Stag Fulfillment typically handles products that weigh 20 pounds and up. It specializes in bulky and oversized shipping.
What to know about SKU breadth
Some 3rd-party logistics companies require a minimum number of orders for every SKU on the shelves. Neither Rakuten Super Logistics nor Red Stag Fulfillment has a SKU breadth requirement. However, it is useful to know what your order-to-SKU ratio is. You may find that it’s a useful tool for inventory management.
The order-to-SKU ratio is a measure of how many orders you ship against the number of SKUs you stock. The ratio is expressed as orders/month:SKU. An order-to-SKU ratio of 10:1 means that you ship 10 orders for every SKU in your inventory. So, using the 10:1 example, if you stock 100 SKUs, you would need to ship 1,000 orders each month to meet the ratio.
Red Stag Fulfillment vs. Rakuten Super Logistics Warehouse Locations
Where do you ship your orders? If you’re like most eCommerce businesses, you have customers across the US and even in other countries. When you use a third-party logistics company for your order fulfillment, you need national fulfillment. Because of this, warehouse locations are important.
Consider a company that ships from a warehouse on the East or West Coast. It will usually be able to deliver to customers who live in the region in one day. It will take two to four days to reach people in the middle of the country. Shipping time will be as much as five days to the opposite coast. A shorter delivery time can mean the difference between a completed sale and an abandoned cart. You need strategically located fulfillment warehouses.
Fortunately, when you consider Red Stag Fulfillment vs. Rakuten Super Logistics, you have two excellent choices in terms of warehouse locations. Rakuten’s 15 warehouses can reach everyone in the US in one to two days. Red Stag’s two locations, in Knoxville, TN, and Salt Lake City, UT, can reach 97% of US households in two days or less.
Red Stag Fulfillment
Rakuten Super Logistics
Your choice of warehouse locations will depend on your operational mode. For example, you might have a high volume of eCommerce sales with an emphasis on fast delivery. In that case, Rakuten Super Logistics can place your goods close to your customers. Or perhaps you don’t want to complicate your inventory management by distributing goods among many warehouses. If that fits your business, Red Stag Fulfillment is a good choice that still gives you fast delivery.
How do you choose between Red Stag Fulfillment vs. Rakuten Super Logistics?
Now that you know more about Red Stag Fulfillment vs. Rakuten Super Logistics, you can decide which is the best fulfillment company for you. Your choice may be based on the size of your products or the volume of orders you ship each month.
There are other factors to consider as well. These include accuracy guarantees, pricing, security, and a host of other 3PL policies. We have created a fulfillment company questionnaire to help you know the right questions to ask. Your fulfillment company may be the most important partner your eCommerce business has. Make sure you have all the information before you choose.